John Carlton has just demanded 25 things of me.

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John Carlton just tagged me – he wants my list of 25 random things.

The Facebook 25 Random Things has generated so much buzz, I’ve even fielded questions from news reporters about what it means about the Internet and social media and all that.

To which I replied, people used to do that via email, but email boxes are such high-intensity production zones that most people would be annoyed. 1999, sure I’ll take your quiz; 2009, sorry I’m too busy. Facebook has enough novelty that they like it OK there.

But the blogosphere is too. John Carlton tagged me to do this.

I’m adopting John’s rule: At the end of this blog I want to hear 2 things about YOU, via comments. I promise to read ’em all. Should be a riot. You gotta read mine first though. And then at the end I’m going to tag 5 more people.

Here goes:

1. When I was 11 or 12 I had these 18″ long PVC sticks from an old toy and used them as drumsticks, playing to the radio or turntable. One day I was playing “drums” on the floor and dad walked in on me. Was apparently watching for some time. When I turned around, he busted out laughing and promptly left. I felt ashamed, I think that was the last time I ever played “drums” for a long time. Then about 12 years ago Laura bought me a ticket to a Rush concert for Father’s day. Neil Peart awakened my inner drummer. I had never seen music played at that level. Still had baggage about that from dad and made a few more feeble attempts to assemble a drum set. Finally on my 35th birthday I said “screw it, I’m buying some drums.” Mapex set with Zildjian cymbals. Took lessons for a year. My friends would say I’m an adequate if not extraordinary player.

2. First serious tune I learned: An obscure Rush song from Test For Echo called Time and Motion. It’s not terribly difficult – it’s not like Natural Science or 2112 – but the odd time signature shifts back and forth from 2 to 3 to 5 to 6 beats per measure, with accents within measures shifting as well. Jagged elliptical feel with different beats on each hand and foot. I play it pretty well. I like odd times. There are a lot of cool songs written in 7/4, like “The Munificent Seven” by Sting or “All of the above” by Transatlantic or “When She’s Gone” by Spock’s beard. A very unusual specimen: “The Start of Something Beautiful” by Porcupine Tree. It’s written in 9/4. Cleverly phrased in five-four, played so seamlessly it’s danceable. Accents at 4, 7½ and 9. One of my favorite odd-time songs is “Thirteenth month” by Steve Smith and Vital Information which is in 13/8 time. (Phrased as four-four-five, that lilt at the end gives me goosebumps.)

3. From the story in item #1 you might think my dad was a bad guy. No siree Bob. When I was young he had this job as editor of a Christian youth magazine. It was very starchy, for example he wasn’t allowed to talk in much depth about issues like sex, and words like “masturbation” were prohibited. He chafed against that, because he was the guy who answered the mail and there was a lot of it. He hated to sweep important issues under the rug. He was a pen-pal counselor and he heard from hundreds, maybe thousands of teens about their garbage and wrote them back with wise words of advice. ‘Twas a great education for a dad to have. He picked his battles wisely, he was not a prude and he prepared me well.

4. My ring of closer friends, “Perry’s Breakfast Club”, tends to be left-handed misfits who see all things in the world as being connected. Kind of like me. We love those late-night, intense, far-ranging conversations. An eclectic bunch.

5. My first passion was speaker building. When I was 13 I desperately wanted a good stereo and being very cash-thin, DIY was the way to go. I got my hands on the McGee Radio 1982 catalog, ordered woofers and tweeters and crossover parts. Built cabinets out of particleboard, cut with a jigsaw. I was instantly hooked. During junior high and high school I built dozens of speakers. When I was a senior I got an agreement with a local dealer to sell them on their showroom floor. I know as much about speakers as I know about any topic. Then 3 years ago I designed my dream system and had the cabinets built. They’re described, tech details and all, here. Speaker design was a great preparation for all kinds of things that came later because every design choice involves a compromise.

6. Laura is the only person I ever seriously dated, she was my high school sweetheart. Our 20th anniversary is this summer. We got married when we were both juniors in college.

7. When we were both 19 we entered this crazy contest where you had to drive around in a big giant loop in a mall parking lot in Lincoln Nebraska, and this radio station KHAT was giving away money. They had 100 envelopes, 99 with $10.60 (106 FM) and one with ten grand. They would stop cars at random and the driver would draw an envelope. We pulled the $10,000 envelope out of the fishbowl. Observing that Laura and I never had a single fight or dark suspicion about how we were going to split, save or use the money, Laura’s dad decided we were probably pretty compatible.

8. When we had one kid and Laura was 3 months pregnant with #2, we took in a foster daughter. (Laura’s idea, not mine.) We had a 2 ½ month stint caring for an African American newborn baby named Drea. After that she was taken in by her paternal grandmother, who invited us to become her God Parents. Drea is 10 now and I take her to church every week. She’s a true blue inner city kid from the West Side of Chicago. And a very sweet girl.

9. The name I was born with is Perry Sink. Sink is a German name that is common in parts of North Carolina and nowhere else. (Generations ago, it was “Zink”). I absolutely HATED the name Sink. I chafed at it. Wondered what kind of sadist would pass that down. Dorky and downward-mobile. About 10 years ago I started using “Marshall” online (after my grandfather, Robert Burns Marshall), and 7 years ago legally changed it. I took the whole family to cook county court to do the name change. We all stand in front of this judge in a black robe and I give him our papers. He looks over his spectacles at me and says, “Mr. Sink, why do you want to change your name?” I say, “Your Honor, because it’s better to be a Sheriff than a kitchen appliance.” He raises his eyebrows and says, “I’m not going to touch that.” The new name was a major boost to my confidence.

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10. I’ve visited 18 countries and 49 states. I have never been to Vermont.

11. My daughter’s name is Tannah. We made it up. To me the sound of her name imitates the sonic sheen of a drum stick tapping on a ride cymbal. A Pakistani friend told me that in Urdu, Tannah means “Tree trunk or strong supporting structure.”

12. When I was 17 my dad had terminal cancer. He’d never been to the west coast. 3 months before he died, unbeknownst to our family, the pastor of our church sent a letter to everyone, inviting people to quietly donate a few bucks so we could take a “last vacation” together. They gave $10,000 and someone loaned us a conversion van. We visited every state west of Nebraska including Alaska and Hawaii. Got to spend 5 weeks with dad on that trip, a bittersweet memory. Alaska is the biggest, most amazing place I’ve ever seen.

13. Straight out of college, I designed speakers for 2 ½ years at Jensen. Had a hand in the 1994 Ford Probe, the 95 Jeep Cherokee, the 95 Acura Vigor, and the 96 Honda Civic. The Civic had a hideously small budget so I proposed a 3-speaker system instead of the usual 4. Losing the one speaker saved a lot of money and allowed for much better components. Instead of four boring 16cm identical speakers this had one 6×9 dual channel subwoofer in the back (very good bass) and two 12cm speakers in the front (great midrange and treble). Considering the whole system only cost $15 it sounded awesome. It even sounded nice in the back seat. Honda rejected it though, the guy said having only three speakers would hurt marketing. He ignored my protests that they could now say it had a subwoofer. The speakers I was forced to design for $3.75 each were pitiful. Honda’s loss. Yours as well, if you drive a 1996-2000 Civic.

14. During my last year in college I sold vacuum cleaners in rural Nebraska.

15. In addition to selling vacuum cleaners that year, I was also a mentor for highly gifted students in the Lincoln Public Schools. I was so amazed at how fast a kid could learn with focused 1-on-1 attention, I was immediately convinced that home schooling was the way to go.

16. Most unusual job I ever had: Worked for a single mom. Picked up her 8 year old boy and two girls ages 6 and 12 from elementary school at 3pm every day, watched the kids and had dinner ready by 6pm when mom came home. Did that for a whole school year. Jason, Autumn and Amber are grown up now.

17. Every summer when I was a kid our family would drive 3 days from Nebraska to Virginia and North Carolina to see our grandparents. Fondest memory: Riding a bike up the road to Camp Powhatan in Hiwassee, Virginia, in the woods next to a raging stream called Max Creek. The road crosses the river about 20 times via old wooden bridges before you get to the camp, and it’s the best place in the world to get lost. The peaceful silence when winter snow falls in the Blue Ridge mountains is unforgettable.

18. My sister Robin Eschliman is a member of the City Council in Lincoln Nebraska, where she fights political battles on a daily basis. She’s very tight with money and she’s always in the newspaper because she’s just nailed some city department head for fiscal irresponsibility. When she tips at a restaurant, it’s 15% TO THE PENNY, using a calculator if necessary. Laura and I are way more generous and sloppy tippers than that; one time on a large expensive group dinner I accidentally tipped double because I didn’t notice the tip was already added to the bill. When the guy pointed it out, I let him keep the $100. Robin would be mortified. But I am quite happy that she is so miserly…because I for one do NOT want so-called “generous people” doling out taxpayer dollars. Generosity is defined by what you do with your money, not somebody else’s.

19. Conversing with my inner child: Most productive way I’ve found to do that is asking myself a question with my dominant hand (left hand for me) and writing the answer with the “wrong” hand. If you stream freely without editing or judging what comes out, this is how you get in touch with the weaker side of yourself. The effort of trying to write legibly occupies the rational side of your mind, freeing the other side to say what it’s been trying to tell you all along. It’s a great way to get to the bottom of compulsions, addictions and old emotional wounds. Abby Rohrer taught me this. Not only has my inner child told me a lot about myself, he’s also given me valuable insights on a number of other people. The little guy in there is very perceptive and always on the alert. I am now listening to him and giving him his due respect.

20. When I was in 6th grade I won a city-wide elementary school writing contest. Didn’t see that as having any particular significance for almost 20 years. Completely ignored writing as a valuable career skill until I discovered copy and direct marketing.

21. My favorite kind of restaurant is a Brazilian Churrascaria. Which is an exotic meat buffet – five different kinds of meat, each marinated, spiced and prepared five different ways (i.e. 25 total cuts), all you can eat. For anyone who’s not a strict vegetarian, it’s heaven on earth.

22. My childhood hero was Thomas Edison.

23. I’ve been fired from at least five jobs. Several more near-misses, one of which still gives me the shivers. A certain boss named Mike will remember that one. Sorry Mike, shouldn’t have been slammin’ you with the other sales guy on company time.

24. When I was 14 I volunteered to do my friend Andy’s paper route while he was on Christmas vacation. It was 20 degrees below zero the entire week and I got paid $30 for the whole thing. But I was still proud of it. Hard work is good sometimes.

25. My kids’ favorite game is 1-2-3 Smash. It’s played on the bed. Lasts until someone gets mortally wounded.

OK, now it’s time to tag 5 people: Bill Glazer, Joe Sugarman, Isabel Allum, Neal Morse, Howie Jacobson.

Can’t wait to hear your stories – and remember, I want to hear TWO from everybody…

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

18 Comments on “John Carlton has just demanded 25 things of me.”

  1. 1. I’m honored to have been mentioned in your #19, Perry. In fact, that technique is one of my favorites and has played an important role in resolving painful past emotional issues that were connected to my trichotillomania and other stuff. There’s nothing better than healing the past and lightening the load in my book.

    2. I currently live in a “construction zone”. The community development was supposed to finished last December (2008) but was delayed because of the economy and recently restarted very slowly– one house at a time. So the house right across the street is being built as I write this. I’m enjoying watching the process. This time the noise is not bothering me. I actually find it comforting and feel that it’s a great metaphor for my inner process of “building community”.

  2. 1) Just recently I was at lunch with a friend from church. He is the director of a large senior care facility here in town, and the father of four children. He knows that I am very involved in our church so he asked how I balance a demanding career with being a father and volunteering at the church. I thought about my answer for a minute and realized that I don’t have, and never have had a “demanding” career. I am just a worker in an average job, and sometimes that gets me down, but when I realize that it has afforded me the opportunity to serve God with my time I decided that’s not such a bad thing. It has honestly never been a conscious decision, other than the fact I have always made sure that whatever my occupation I would be able to continue to serve in the church.

    2) I have known Perry Marshall (Sink) for almost 30 years, and I am the “Andy” who paid him $30 for a week of subbing on my paper route. Given what Perry now charges for 1-hour of his time I’d say I got a heck of a bargain!

  3. Iain,

    I haven’t researched the market but I think a book on EQ might have a fighting chance out there. Marketing it to strategic email lists would be a key part of the formula.

    And yes, by the way, EQ is a MAJORLY important factor. It’s the very first thing the ear discerns about a recording, period.

    If you want to re-eq the GM CD, or do any kind of audio processing you’re welcome to. Open a support ticket when you’re done and we’ll return the favor somehow.


  4. Hi Perry,
    I am a big fan of yours. Keep it up.
    I have ran my own recording studio since 1990.
    I am writing a small book about “How To EQ” and could not believe it when I read your passion was once designing speakers. I am not technical at all but I do have definite ideas about how to eq, and find it crazy that all the recording courses out there barely touch one of the most important topics, i.e. how to eq.
    I am looking at making it an ebook. I have only found one “How to eq” ebook on the internet and it was terrible.
    Could I send you a page to get your opinion?
    Many Thanks, Iain.
    PS Have you got a noise gate on your “21 guerilla marketing” cd to get rid of disco in background? (cd was great incidently – listened to it about 10 times so far)

  5. 1. I have spent more years of my adult life outside the United States than I have spent inside the United States (and I am a US citizen). It’s been 33 years since I turned 18; I’ve lived in the US for about 14 years and in Germany for about 19 years (I think that adds up to 33!).

    2. I was the first chair tuba player in the Buckeye (Ohio) All Star Band some time back in the 70s. Learning music taught me how to work on small, boring things until I was good at them.

    3. I can’t count to two! :)

    Best regards,

  6. This is a great idea Perry to get to know the inhabitants of planet Perry as individuals – well done!!

    1) While in Goa, India, sorting out a software project (aiming to create really high quality outsourcing in a way that help the local community) my wife Beth and I visited orphanages to see if there was anything that we could do to help. India is a big place with dare I say it big issues so the question was “What simple thing could we do to help them help themselves?”. Its a bit like the parable of the fishermen.

    The orphans we saw were clothed, fed and sheltered well – someone has done a good job there – but most of the older ones seemed isolated and institutionalized with no real thoughts of helping themselves. Many of the panhandlers I talk to on the streets had come through the same orphanages. (I don’t know how widespread this is, but this is what we saw).

    One thing struck me in particular. While they were taught to read and write English they never read in the orphanage except school exercises – there were no books or libraries and they were starved of the flow of new ideas that bright young people need.

    So we started in small and low key way a books for orphanages project. I know from my own upbringing how books can be a door to new ideas and ideals and a better world than the one around you.

    The idea is that if we can teach them that they can go out and learn things themselves without a formal institution that would be really valuable. I think it is something that is obvious to everyone in the US, but somewhat shady and disreputable or just implausible in many other places (I’m serious when I say that).

    So that’s our way of teaching them to help themselves – the older ones guiding the younger. May be they won’t want to (although they seem excited), but maybe – just maybe we could fan the embers of something great – a small culture of self help and learning – and wouldn’t that just be worth while?

    while I was writing this my 2 year old daughter Lara came in and took my hand and without a word gently lead me out to the garden where a bumble bee was struggling pitifully on the melting snow. We lifted the unwise animal onto a sunny stone where it could warm-up and dry-out

    2) There is something very strange about me (ok probably more than one thing) . . but this one is . . I’d rather be proved wrong about something than right . . because that means that I’ve just learnt something new.

    And here is the thing – to really learn you have to be willing to look dumb, to ask dumb questions (the ones really smart people tell you are fundamental ones), to coax and stimulate your teachers and to listen and learn. You probably heard me asking the dumb questions on the 2008 Bobsled run in my BBC British accent!

    One of the things that you learn after a while is “how to learn”. Before doing the Perry thing I spent some years many years doing scientist roles in various labs where the really cutting edge exciting stuff seemed to be happening. The curious thing is (and I have to hide this on my CV unless someone really smart is going to be assessing it) -the work was at relatively high level (post doc or above) and in completely different subjects. Very difficult to explain to a 9-5er or careerist. How do you explain really exciting and interesting rather than climbing the corporate or academic ladder step-by-step?

    Its been a strange journey – starting in a new field it generally takes about six months of gawping with round eyes and dreams full of equations or formulae to catch up with a really smart PhD but then – pow – warp drive – new ideas from different fields begin to flow and meld in a way that gets you your next hot job invitation and a new adventure.

    I had to give this up because I’ve got four daughters now – the happiest, cutest girls you can imagine (pity I can’t post a picture here) – and full of questions and impressive knowledge. I can tell you – its a great wonder hearing a perky 8 year old explaining to an old falconer how the visual system of a bird of prey works or discussing the “first cause” (and the origins of DNA) with a 9 year old. Sophie – who is 9 is also a great reader of Perry’s newsletters as well.

    Needless to say the teachers at their schools are divided on this stuff – half are enthralled and delighted . . half are angry and disgruntled (“distracts the class” – “is not needed for exams”)

    I’m being told that the bee made it

    . . . And now to read the rest of the blog and learn what new ideas spin off from this “intellectual jamming session” that is planet Perry . . .

  7. 1. After more than a year of severe sickness and recovery, I participated in an event of cycling up a high mountain with a height difference from start to finish of about 1600 Meters and a distance about 25 kilometers ( )

    I said to myself:

    “If I succeed with *this*, then I know that I am healed.”

    I succeeded in it ( took me 8 hours ) and I said to myself:

    “Now, this is the proof that I am healed.”

    Damn good feeling!

    2. Spiritual turnaround:

    Once, a little bit more than 6 years ago, I had three dreams in one night (which seemed to have had in a circular time-dependency. I know this sounds weird but in the realm of dreams many things are possible. Even modifying linear time into circular time.).

    In that morning I started to write down all of these dreams.

    Then something happened: As I wrote down these dreams, I reentered the realm of dreams while being awake, and writing down kept me in that realm. But, since I was awake, too, I was able to consciously affect the scenes of the dreams and I looked at the effects of my conscious changes.

    From prior experience with analyzing dreams, I knew that the scene of a dream is the symbolic language which my unconscious mind uses for communication with my conscious mind. Usually this is just a one-way communication. You dream, and then you analyze it. Your unconscious mind speaks and your conscious mind listens.

    For the first time in my life, this communication became a two-way communication. Really powerful stuff. ( don’t try this at home. :-) )

    I practiced this experience for a whole week, for several hours per day ( came to work very late in this week… ).

    At the last day of this practice, I woke up. I mean really *woke up*. It felt that I was awake for the first time in my life. Compared to that awakened experience, I have been sleepwalking through my entire life before.

    And it was noticeable from the outside. In the first psychotherapy session after that experience, my psychotherapist immediately noticed that something big had happened, even before I have even said a single word. Just by the way I was. (vibrations and stuff.)


    Some things about that awakening process:

    The waking up happened suddenly and it was a very intense experience. Like being thrown into this life from some spiritual place (from outside of this universe) within seconds.

    Funny thing: The first thing which I saw after waking up were the leds of the cable modem of my computer.

    Then I looked around the room.

    It felt kind a like:

    “Where am I?”

    “What do I do here?”

    “Gosh, what a mess!”

    The change from this experience is permanent. Affected all aspects of my life. ( This doesn’t mean everything became good, it was rather more that life became very dramatic with lot’s of things happening… )

    Sometimes, I have been drifting back a little bit into sleepwalking, but there was always this intense conscious presence inside me, even then. And I kind of pull myself out of the sleepwalking, quickly, with energy from this source.


    I have never repeated this practice again, but I probably should.

    Maybe I need to do some preparations in my life before I can handle the kind of dramatic change which a second journey through the realm of dreams will bring about. Maybe it’s just fear of that change… Who knows. :-)

  8. Wow Perry. Writing really is your skill. When growing up I always dreaded writing papers. That dread was a handicap, but I couldn’t see it then. Expressing yourself well is like a superpower. Not everyone can do it.

    1) I have always had an entrepreneurial streak. I was selling cupcakes or something as a child in Soho New York, when Herve Villechaize (Tattoo on Fantasy Island) was packing to move to California for what became his big break in the Man with the Golden Gun. He gave me a harmonica, and a pile of Sad Sack comic books which I still have somewhere. During high school in New York, I would buy novelties in the wholesale district, and sell them as a street vendor on 8th street in Greenwich Village. I mostly sold Rubik’s Cube knockoffs. I figured out how to solve the cube, and would solve them while selling them to drum up business. I once solved a cube in 47 seconds in a high school contest, beating in that round the eventual winner of the contest. He won with 17 seconds. I can still solve the cube in usually less than 2 minutes.

    2) I met my wife playing volleyball in a tournament for charity on the National Mall in DC. We were both on the same team of six. I was pretty shy about it. We started playing as doubles partners in a local sand volleyball league. It was only after some months of that, that we started going out. I used the Bruce Willis line in Hudson Hawk, where he leans forward and whispers that he has a secret. I leaned forward and kissed her. A risk well worth taking.

  9. 1) I went to high school with and actually dated Eric Ferguson (famous DJ in Chicago)- we both now have twins and we DIDN’T marry each other. I still lisen to his radio show.

    2)I worked for the owners of the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bismarck Hotel in Chicago – learned *why* first hand they weren’t the most popular people you could work for.

  10. Here goes

    1) I was living in W. Berlin on November 9, 1989 when the east open the gates which was the beginning of the end of the USSR.

    2)I got chosen to play an extra in the Gene Hackman, Mikail Borishnakov movie, “Company Business”. It was partially filmed on location in W. Berlin where I was living. My part ended up on the cutting room floor but it was an interesting experience.

  11. Hi Perry,

    Yep, I participated in this “event” as well (found out about it on Michel Fortin’s blog), so you can read my 25 here:

    However, here’s 2 more, just for luck :)

    1) I owe my current career to you Perry (!) because I first learned about Adwords from you, when I purchased your Definitive Guide To Google AdWords probably 4 years ago?

    Thru reading, learning & practise, I eventually got myself a job at one of Australia’s top SEO firms (WCR Internet Marketing) and became their main AdWords specialist.

    Been here since mid-2005 and still love driving adwords campaigns for clients. At one stage I had $1,000,000 a year spend under management, and looking to ramp that up to the next level this year.

    So, thanks heaps Perry. Your breaking free from corporate America was actually the (eventual) trigger to me finding a whole new positive, well paying :) career path! I owe you one.

    BTW, the thing that first made me relate to you was Amway – see my 25 (point 13)… I SOOOO related to your experiences there.

    2) Although I am on Facebook and have lots of “friends” (anyone I send a friend request to, for whatever reason), I still think it’s mostly a waste of time! And don’t get me started on Twitter! LOL

    OK, there u go. 2+25 = too much free time on my hands! :)


  12. Perry, first of all, next time you’re in NH or Boston for any reason to visit me, do a seminar, etc., I’m taking you for a quick ride to Vermont to complete the 50th state! (Brattleboro is only about 75 minutes from my house)

    Here are two things people probably don’t know about me.

    1. As a child, I had a thing for audio equipment too. But not so much how it worked, rather what I could do with them to spy on my father. He was a psychologist too (well, I guess I wasn’t one back then), and from the time I was about 8 years old that’s all I wanted to do … be a shrink.

    So I hooked up a microphone to his downstairs office and listened in upstairs. The things I heard! (My grandfather taught me quite a bit about electronic circuitry … he also showed me how to hook up a tape recorder to automatically start playing when someone sat down on the toilet, but that’s another story entirely)

    2. In high school and college I composed jazz-fusion music. (Think “Keith Jarrett meets Ian Anderson”) I was pretty damn good … I had several demo tapes make it all the way to the President of Polygram records … and by the time I was 26, I got called in for an interview.

    But I also just got my Ph.D. and had to make a choice … so I started a practice instead. (Gave my nephew my piano recently … he’s a prodigy) Now it’s one of those “kinda-sorta-almosts” most of us have in our past, but having treated professional musicians, I think I chose the right path. (I’m easily distracted by pleasure … it would not have been the best world for me!)

    Here’s a third for good measure.

    I just bought a ping pong table, because we accidentally discovered Sharon’s a natural. At first I was just hitting the ball back consistently to her to see the look on her face when there was a big old meatball hanging in the air for her to smack back at me … it’s kind of like my dog looks when I hold up a hot dog for him.

    Recently though, I started noticing it was getting harder to put the ball back each time … and eventually I had to really start playing my best.

    So now, I hang my head in shame … my very feminine wife kicks my royal arse on the ping pong table … and I’d challenge anyone to go 21 points with her. (She’s modest about it, but she’s really really good)

    OK … that’s all I got, … thanks for the mini therapy session,

    Dr. G :-)

  13. 1.) I don’t like to sit with my back to the front door in a restaurant. I often race my wife and daughter to get to the seat farthest from the door before they sit down, because they forget. I can’t get comfortable if I know I’m going to have a flurry of people behind me the next hour.

    2.) When I was a Cub Scout, I entered a car in the annual Pinewood Derby. All the other boys entered cars (from hand built kits, pinewood block, wheels) that basically their dads had done for them in the “alleged” father/son activity. My dad was either too busy with 4 other kids, or he thought the project was a learning experience for the boys, so I was on my own, no powertools, saws, carving knives, just wads of sandpaper. Of course I didn’t know what I was doing and when it came time for racing, mine was the slowest, because I didn’t know anything about the physics of streamlining, lubricating the wheels, weight dispersion, etc. That was all adult stuff. However, I had some accessories for a Model T from a model car kit, and while others made Ferraris and Speedracer candidates, mine was a big fat, rounded classic Model T. I painted it with a Hot Pink lacquer coating.

    They gave out two trophies, Speed and Originality. To my surprise, I won the Originality trophy. At 10 years old, I discovered one of life’s greatest “secrets,” that those who thought out of the box and choose something no one else had thought of (and didn’t follow the herd) would always enjoy intensely more success in life. It was a strategy that would guide me for the next four decades.

  14. 1) The story of my career in warp speed: I served a mission for the LDS Church in 1997. Met a guy there named Eric Martineau. Came home put myself through college working at a call center. Got a job out of college I never should have gotten selling the most boring software product in the history of mankind, but it paid $75K per year. Left the cush of 25 paid vacation days in corporate America to go work as a sales rep for Eric, his Brother Scott, and their Brother-in-law Clate at a software company in Mesa, AZ. I voted for the name Silver Box Software, they chose Infusion Software. 9 months later I hadn’t sold 1 single thing. A guy named Reed Hoisington talked Clate and Scott in to trying this totally crazy thing called direct response marketing and I got laid off. While firing me, Clate told me about this Real Estate coach and that he knew a guy who was “the coach of all the coaches” (Dan Kennedy) and that was there new focus. I thought they were crazy and was convinced it was a good thing I was leaving. I had no job prospects so I bought a carpet cleaning franchise. Never made a single dime of profit off it in 12 months. I worked graveyards at the grocery store to pay rent and buy food for my family of 4. I threw in the entrepreneurial towel and went back to corporate America working for Fidelity Investments. After two years of that I get an email out of the blue with a job offer to work for the new and improved Infusion Software – a legit small business now with 40 employees. I accept – pack up the entire family this time to truck down to Phoenix. My very first project was to go sit in on Joe Polish’s Marketing Boot Camp. I sat there for three straight days with a single thought running on spin cycle in my head – “No wonder I never made any money cleaning carpets”. I got back from that event, raided Scott Martineau’s marketing info product bookshelf and absorbed all the Dan Kennedy, Perry Marshall, John Carlton, Gary Halbert, Claude Hopkins, Eugene Schwartz, and Robert Collier I could. Worked at Inusion for 16 months and jumped ship to be an Infusion consultant for a “how to make money trading options” company. Recently wrote up a product I’m proud of for Perry Marshall’s Content Czar contest and got an honorable mention – which I’m also proud of. I’m now on the precipice of 4 separate direct marketing related ventures of my own and my head is still turning. Sorry, that was long, but I’ve never got that story out and this was a fun opportunity.

    2) I’ve been infatuated with Julie Smith ever since I was 14. She moved in next door to me then and was the prettiest girl in town. We later got married and our parents still lived next door to each other for the first 8 years of our marriage. Our 10th wedding anniversary was Tuesday and she surprised me with a limo ride up South Mountain Park in Phoenix. Amazing.

  15. My parents were both city kids who got married and thought ‘country life’ would be the coolest way to raise their family. Through 4-H my sisters and I participated in many activities, but my Market Lamb project is by the far the most memorable. My parents fronted the money for lambs, food, medicine and the peripherals necessary. We fed, exercised, medicated and shoveled manure behind those @?&*! sheep for 4 months preparing for the County Fair. We had no clue what we were doing. 3 of the 4 sheep didn’t make weight the first year. The littlest sister who did zero work got to sell her sheep at the Fair, the rest were out of luck. The next year mom and I went “to town” at 4am in the pouring rain to stand in line to get our number for entry to the fair in 5 months. They had too many animals, and were limiting entries by a lottery system. We got in, and repeated the entire expensive painful process for the next 4 months. That year all of our sheep made weight, and were successfully auctioned off on the last day of the Fair. My lamb sold for $184.46. After deducting the cost of the lamb, feed, supplies and gas to Mom for running us around town, I figured I made $0.26 an hour to raise that sheep and shovel manure for 4 months. Character building to say the least, and I vowed I’d never raise farm animals again.

    I’ve known my husband since I was 8 years old. We got engaged after a 1 month courtship, married 6 months later. We experienced the loss of a business, sold a home, bought a trashed fixer in a different state, lived in it while we fixed it ourselves, had a baby, filed bankruptcy, started another business, and had 3 miscarriages all in a 20 month time period – and never had a single fight during that time. Our 11th anniversary will be in July, we’ve had 3 arguments to date.

  16. Nice one Perry!
    1. In my final year of elementary school I had my first “real” girlfriend. her name was Shirley Masters and I remember her to this day. That year we had our first kiss, it was behind her house down by the river. (Sounds like a Springsteen song only this was a small country town in Australia.) I clearly remember the kiss but even more clearly I remember our surprise when despite warnings of “something bad” happening as a result of “inappropriate” kissing activity…nothing happened!

    2. Later that year Shirley and I were at the local swimming pool. The place was totally empty because it was getting towards the cooler months and soon the pool would be drained and closed for winter. Because it was too cold to swim we ended up sitting on a bench talking. We talked for about two hours straight and to this day I have no idea what we talked about…we just talked. As I walked home alone I had a blinding realization that…gee, girls were just people and you could talk to them…like…people! Some of my old school friends still haven’t worked that out.

  17. 1)I was born in England, lived there, Scotland and Zimbabwe before coming to New Zealand with my parents. I studied classics and there was a time when I wanted to become an archaeologist. I also wanted to be an artist, but my dad forbade it – the “get a proper job” syndrome. So I ended up beoming a lawyer and working in the NZ government, mainly in the medico-legal field. I spent my spare time walking the high country of central NZ and painting what I saw. Now I’ve come full circle. I live on the family property (10 acres) in the far north of NZ and am a member of an artists’ co-operative that operates in the historic Old Courthouse in the picturesque fishing village of Mangonui, about 20 miles north of here. Visitors love to hear this story – they think it’s cool.
    2)I looked after my mother with Alzheimers for 10 years, until last year when she passed on. I soon learned where people’s values were. There were those who respected me for what I did, and those who treated me a bit like i was nuts and tried to tell me I should put her in a home – to salve their consciences because that was what they had done. It gave me a certain amount of pleasure not to follow their advice. It was a hard row to hoe, but I don’t regret what I did.

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